album cover Horsebreaker Star Grant McLennan
Family Life Personal

Sunshine Before The Rain – And After

How's the emotional weather with you?

Airy cheering sunshine fades inexorably to glowering, constricting grey.

For clouds always lurk here in the bluest of skies.

That’s Irish weather for you.

That’s me for you.

You never know how we will break.

Nice light flutter to this school morning, though.

Lustrous spring light came slithering eagerly in under the bedroom blind as I rose with a zing of optimism.

Bella and Lily don’t need any weather prompts and couldn’t get out the door quick enough for our morning ramble.

On our return, the kids breezed through rising and breakfast, and the dark clouds only briefly appeared when O couldn’t find his toothbrush just before they were to get in the car for school.

It’s tight now and A has to go or she will be late for work.

K has little sympathy for O’s toothbrush quest, and, scrubbing her own sparklers, sniffs disdainfully: “Look where the bathroom mirror is all dirty – that’s where it is probably.”

I remember the unusual place I saw his toothbrush last night and bounding up the stairs, I can’t make out his bristling retort. Or don’t want to.

Still simmering after our spat of nearly a week ago, he takes the implement wordlessly.

And soon they are gone.

This spring in Ireland the weather has gone altogether loop-the-loop crazy.

This past week, the beginning of April, has been colder and more north-easterly biting than anything the real winter threw up.

Yet we’ve had our lovely daffodil harbingers and our tulip uplift, and the boughs are dense now with blossoms.

There’s been brilliant sunshine and I have long completed the post-winter weeding marathon.

And still the dark clouds hover, and the cutting winds prowl, ready to reduce the brightest day to old eastern bloc severity.

And I can’t seem to find the spring in my own melancholy step.

By the time I reach our local Tesco this morning, all trace of blue has vanished from the variegated sky. Every dreary shade of which is grey.

I need cash for later, but the machine in the corner of the store tells me in nine languages it is out of order.

A few bits and pieces, including a four-pack of hazelnut yoghurt, and I head for the automatic till.

This labour-saving, job-denying service always seems to get me rattled.

The four yoghurts won’t go through, and the contemptuous screen tells me I must seek out an attendant.

The one who should be here but isn’t.

Alone in my automated hell, all Hyacinth Bouquet hauteur, I curse all bewildering technology and minimal contract employers – and the absent assistant.

No-one hears my silent roar, especially not the uniformed woman 20 metres away stabbing her phone with weighty digits.

I eventually catch her eye and she ambles over to me.

No, she doesn’t know why there isn’t a barcode for items joined together.

And isn’t overly concerned.

I grab my blue tokens for the Community Fund section beyond the tills

Three possible slots for my tokens.

Every six weeks, apparently, the number of these tokens is counted and up to €1,000 is distributed proportionally between three local good causes.

The way it is flagged you would swear big-hearted Tesco was donating vast reserves for the purchase of wind instruments, local rowing club equipment or, my favourite this morning, a hedgehog rescue fund.

Who will put a blue token in my slot?

And rescue me.

Lift me up from my torpor.

Pull me up out of the hole I have fallen into, like in the late, far greater than great Grant McLennan’s gorgeous song, Coming Up For Air

Will you pull me up

Drop a rope down the hole

Coming up for air ….

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, how I, a man in my autumn years can still yearn to be rescued, and still wait for things to somehow “pick up”.

Like a child waiting for his mammy to sort him out.

Make it all okay. Make him okay.

And it never came,

Or he didn’t know how to receive it.

And I wait still for someone to sort out my world.

That I might, like Graeme Edge and the Moody Blues

Come to witness spring’s new hope, born of leaves decaying
And as new life will come from death

Love will come at leisure
Love of love, love of life and giving without measure
Gives in return a wondrous yearn for promise almost seen
Live hand in hand and together we’ll stand
On the threshold of a dream

Yes, I fear my melancholic tendencies go way back.

Maybe I didn’t get all the emotional sustenance I needed early on.

The certainty pumped into me that it would all be all right.

That airy cheering sunshine would always follow glowering, constricting grey.

Ah, such dreary thoughts on just one dreary day.

But that’s Ireland for you.

That’s me for you.

The weather always picks up.

And so will I.

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My Random Musings

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41 comments on “Sunshine Before The Rain – And After

  1. I thought I was the only one who hated those self-service machines.
    Your piece struck a chord with me. I too hate the grey days and long for a sunny warm day.
    We can only hope for warmer days to lift us all up!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. we went from shorts and tees back to winter coats again this week. I’m right there with you in needing spring to get here for good and lighten the shoes a bit #triumphanttales

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I do love your style of writing Enda. The melancholy comes through perfectly. As does a distrust of technology which , despite being a blogger, I share!


  4. Am with you on those machines – I’ve been known to leave a shop emptyhanded if that’s my only option. Budapest weather in April is menopausal. Today hot. Tomorrow cold. 10-degree difference. I love the excitement.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah Enda, it’s good to see you back. Not so good to see you so melancholy, I really hope the weather and your mood improves soon. As for the self service tills, we love them. I get the kids to help and you can guarantee it will be like we’ve unleashed some wailing siren monster that will keep going every time we put something through. If you want a little disruption in your life then self service is the way to go!
    Your last paragraph really struck a chord with me, I think we both need a holiday!
    (I’m off to sunny Wales next month for a couple of days break from the family disguised as a blogger retreat!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Anne. Good to hear from you … and good to hear from your wonderfully positive outlook. Holidays, unfortunately, aren’t the solution for me as it wouldn’t be just my wife and I! Hope your blogger-cation goes really well


  6. Empathise on this one methinks perhaps because I am Irish or because here in France our weather is daft too. Spring has teased twice and then stomped away bringing greyness and rain. My mood has struggled with these weather changes and other stuff going on. So for all I hope blue skies inside and out return to you very soon, your post made me feel more human and ultimately OK too. Thank you as ever – today I actually visited your blog knowing it would cheer me a little and it did. Also I like the idea of you having a good rant.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Love this piece, Enda — and I’m sure by the time of your reading this comment – the grey clouds have already scattered – if not cleared away completely . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  8. loved reading – and I dislike those machines too and often queue to be served by a real person. #triumphanttales

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Nothing not to like in this. Why are the voices in those machines so impatient and nagging, would be so much better if there was a soft Irish voice saying “No rush, take your time”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The grey days have an effect on my husband, but I love them. Here in the US, people who are seriously affected are said to have SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and can be treated with special lamps. I’m the opposite–I don’t mind a bright, sunny day once in a while, but too many of them in a row get me down! With you feeling melancholic to begin with, that encounter with automation must have been especially difficult–I really hate those automatic tills! #BloggerClubUK

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha Jean … it really shows how different we all are … you like the less bright days more!! Ireland is your natural habitat😀


  11. Yes what is going on with this bizarre weather! I just want last year’s heatwave back again so we all know where we are. And don’t get me started on those self-service machines. EVERY time there’s a problem. They drive me mad.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Our spring had definitely not sprung in terms of warmth yet. It’s still really really cold. I am longing for hot summer days! Thanks for joining the #ItsOK Linky.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I despise those self-service checkouts. There’s always at least one error and no one in sight to fix it. I’ll walk out of a shop rather than use them with young impatient kids with me.

    I’ve always found the long grey days this time of year very difficult too. The only saving grace of having a long snowy winter abroad is that it might be minus 40, but most of those days are much brighter than they would be in Ireland. I hope there are more blue skies and sunshine on their way to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, Sophie your words are a warm front after a bleak spell. Thank you. I really enjoy your all too occasional posts. Miss Sophie’s Feeling For Snow!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you! I struggle to find any time to write and record what life is like lately. Perhaps the summer weather will eventually refresh all our minds and magic up some extra hours in the day!

        Liked by 1 person

      • It will … the evenings are already appreciably longer here Sophie

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Thanks for ending on a positive note! We had three days of snow here this week, and the sun rose beautifully this morning, so I’m finding my way back to hope as well.


  15. The weather and our mood are so inter-related. Stuck at home with my husband away on business, my eldest out the door at 8am to coach cricket and the youngest revising for GCSE’s I have felt so trapped. When the sun is up, the garden lends some respite from reassurance about revising, testing and providing sustenance when the brain is tired. When the cold wind bites and it’s all a bit grey, it’s a struggle for sure to get through to the end. My reprieve is catching up on some podcasts, reading and just going with the flow. The blog however has been abandoned. Spring is here and summer is on it’s way!


  16. God I loathe those self service machines. I rarely use them and have never managed to use one without an assistant being need for one reason or another. Bring back people. Bring back human interaction. Bring back customer service. #bloggersclubuk

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Self serve checkout, it’s a heartless monster that wrecks lives. That machine always befuddles me and I’m no tech newbie! As for the grey skies, I love them – they are a stark contrast to my bubbly personality. And now you’ve made me ponder what makes some people bubbly and optimistic and others not so much. #GlobalBlogging

    Liked by 1 person

    • The weather, doh!! Nah, who knows, Heather … could be some small thing like .. nature, nurture, good experiences, bad experiences … or it’s just in the damn genes!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I hope you’re feeling a bit better now and that this post helped somehow! Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales.I hope to see you back tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. The weather has been so strange hasn’t it. When we were in France for the February half term it was t shirt weather. It’s been so chilly the past few weeks though, but then today I went out in a jumper. I like steady sunshine – it doesn’t even have to be the hot kind. Warm will do! Thanks for joining us for the #dreamteam 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. mackenzieglanville

    Here I am in Autumn and the weather today was a very warm 28, yet tomorrow it’ll rain and be 19 so the weather forecast tells me, one minute it feels like we are still in summer, the next like winter is knocking on the door. Last winter I felt myself spiralling down, anxiety increased, sadness grew, so I do have a fear that as the weather gets worse so may my mood. I think writing helps us express all these feelings and mixed emotions. I hope your weather nd mood brightens xx #AbloggingGoodTime

    Liked by 1 person

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